This blog is a tribute to Belle, and all the dogs who have come before and after. They are my friends, my companions, my teachers and my students. They bring me both joy and heartache, laughter and tears. There is nothing as sweet as the smell of puppy breathe, and nothing as sad as the final goodbye.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Happy New Year!

 Wishing you and yours a most wonderful 2018!

 Thank you for all your support in 2017. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Training Vent

I believe training dogs is as much an art as it is a science. To deny this is to deny the uniqueness of the dogs we work with. There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ method of training. The more we understand what motivates an individual dog’s behavior the more apt we are to achieve success. Relying on more than one tool in our training toolbox is key when addressing the various temperaments and behaviors of the dogs we are training.  For some dogs, focusing on the behavior will also change the motivating emotional component for the better, for others, dealing solely with the emotional component will cause a positive behavior change, and for still others, dealing with both the emotive and the behavioral will lead to a successful outcome. Do food rewards work in training? Absolutely when teaching and rewarding new behaviors. Do aversives play a role in training? Absolutely, with most dogs all of the time and with some dogs some of the time. If someone tells you otherwise, rest assured that they are not doing right by the dog. All dogs need to learn what is acceptable and what behavior simply won’t be tolerated. The point is to have enough tools on hand to gage what is working and what is not, and to have the knowledge and skill to switch gears when necessary without letting rigid ideologies get in the way of doing right for the dog and his owner.